Subhashini Kaligotla

Two Poems

Orbit: The Asian American Issue
Volume 15:3, Summer 2014

What She Will Remember

The heat and the waiting.
Waiting for it to end and waiting
for it to begin.

in the privacy of her room.

Outside, the pomegranate’s red
blooming into still premature fruit.
The small reward.  Like this morning
when the owner of the outsize warble
showed himself—
on a branch, in full view—
getting so close
she could see clearly
his white breast and belly,
the thin bill open and shut
to make a clamor
disproportionate to his status
in the world.

Two people coming together
should be this plain-spoken,
this confident.


Defence Colony Market

Looking for the phool wala, circling
the market on foot till we found him.
Choosing larkspur—

because the price was right
and because they would make
an impression.  All those

minor notes made substantial
by their arrangement together.
Two bunches.  One for you and one

for your rival.  Asking the phool wala
to scrape the stems, make them
presentable.  Bickering mildly,

coercing you to let the other man have
the nicer bunch.  You acquiesced,
found me a rickshaw.  No kiss

on the cheek, but a proper hug
goodbye and the promise
of another meeting.


Subhashini Kaligotla is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Boxcar Poetry Review, Drunken Boat, Lumina, New England Review, and The Literary Review, and in anthologies published in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Kaligotla's writing has received support from the Fulbright Program, Hedgebrook, Kundiman, and Sanskriti Kendra (New Delhi). She is a doctoral candidate in the history of art and the Ittleson Fellow in residence at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.